A local Taliban commander in Marja reached by cellphone said they were aware that the town was the target, and he sought to signal that they would not be intimidated. “We will definitely defend Marja,” said the commander, who goes by the name Ishaq. “It’s the only place left for us. We have all of our fighters assembled here to fight against Afghan and foreign forces.”
“We know this operation will be much bigger than previous operations,” Mr. Ishaq said. “We are determined to fight until the last drop of our blood.” NYT
"No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country."
Anyhow, it is interesting how much advanced warning is being put out there for this new offensive by the US Marines (and perhaps the UK folks as well) and the ANA against Marja, where the Taliban have been concentrated. However, given other recent articles that demonstrate that strategic surprise and even tactical surprise is hard to come by, given the ability for these guys to communicate by smoke, pigeon, balloon, kite, and cell phone, it might make sense to look at the upsides of notification.
- We cannot kill our way to victory so getting some or many of the fighters to disperse and then have the ANA/US/UK force stick around and keep control would not be a bad thing.
- The warning may separate civilians from genuine Taliban, minimizing collateral damage.
- It might cause the Taliban to do things that ISAF can pick up so that it can improve targeting and the operation.